EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the athlete journal of CrossFit Games veteran Valerie Voboril! Valerie has competed in every CrossFit Games since 2009, with the exception of 2011 due to the birth of her daughter. She placed 3rd in 2010 and 5th in 2012. Read her journals each Tuesday to hear how she’s preparing for the 2013 Games.
Athlete Journal Entry 2: 3/12/2013 – State of Mind
Although the physical aspects of any sport are important, I am convinced that the game is won or lost by your mindset. I have been nicknamed the ‘Ginger Hulk,’ due to my gym mates cheering ‘Hulk smash!’ And just recently another gym mate dubbed me as the ‘Silent Assassin.’ The first nickname gives an impression of mindless beast-like attack, while the latter touches on the quiet calm with which I enter a competition. I feel both nicknames fit me well, as they each speak to my mental game. The Hulk is my ‘just go do what you do’ attitude and the Silent Assassin is the non-amped way I like to start a competition.
I first discovered the importance of mental training at the 2010 Games. Leading up to the Games I was getting so anxious, nervous, and worried that I completely stopped having fun. My husband threatened to make me quit CrossFit because he hated seeing me so miserable and reminded me of when I did CrossFit for fun. So, before the Games I made a list of goals and intentions. Ultimately, at the top of my list was ‘have fun’ and ‘do what you do.’ I largely believe that is why I made it onto the podium that year.
Fast forward to 2012. Again nerves and self-confidence were my most worst enemies. After the c-section I felt like my recovery was so slow and that there was no way I’d make up all that I had lost during and after my pregnancy. Everyone else was making gains, while I was regressing and then trying to play catch-up. That was my biggest fear. Reminding myself that I do CrossFit for fun – because I enjoy it – helped. But what really got me centered was listening to some visualization and positive self-talk MP3s from Heidi Fearon. These have not only helped with my physical performance, but in my daily life, too.
I just spent three days with an upset stomach because I was so worried/nervous about the Open starting. The night before I did my open 13.1 WOD I got my act together. I reminded myself of why I CrossFit (because it makes me feel good, I love the motivational atmosphere, the opportunity to always challenge myself, and the community of like-minded, health-conscious, driven people), listened to the positive self-talk MP3s, and went into the gym with a great attitude.
For me, the Open 13.1 went well! I didn’t have any regrets. I liked my pace and my game plan. Last year’s snatch WOD was a mess for me with all sorts of failed reps and bad form. My technique has improved, so there was only one failed attempt. A success for me in my book. My goal wasn’t a number, but rather a feeling. My intention was to do my personal best, to be able to look back without regrets, and to walk away feeling proud of my form/technique and my overall performance. Again, mental preparedness made all the difference.
Photo provided by Miguel Tapia Images.